Eight bites of a mysterious nature
Trip Start Mar 05, 2007
20Trip End May 01, 2007
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When we last left Clay and Jeff they had arrived safely in Kunming, China after a long few days of traveling in miserable circumstances. Fatigued, sick and weary they boarded their train to Guilin at around 8 at night. There was no room for them in the hard sleeper class, which is the preferred means of travel, and so were forced to ride in the 3rd class hard seats. Upon inspection, the 3rd class seemed a fine place to spend 20 hours. The seats were in fact quite hard and offered little support for these two exhausted travelers, but they settled themselves down and prepared for the long journey. At around 2 a.m. just as they were getting so tired that they could sleep anywhere, for this is the only way to actually get sleep in the hard seat class, they pulled into a remote station crowded with passengers. It seems that the difficult reputation of the 3rd class wasn't so much the hard seats themselves, but the fact that this is also where those with standing room tickets were to stand. In a matter of minutes, the already full train car was packed to the excess with commuters. The aisles were full of people standing, sitting and laying. Our little bench was quickly occupied by an opportunist who crowded us over. At times during the course of the remaining 14 hours there were people occupying the bathrooms, the table in front of us and even the standing in the space between our knees. We shared our seat with a few different interesting people, and one woman who was throwing up in a garbage can between her knees.
Sorry, I read Jane Eyre this week and I think it has effected my writing. Once we finally got to Guilin, we still had another hour on a bus to get to Yangshuo, our final destination. We got here and plopped down our bags and were definitely to stay in one place for more than just a few days. This week we had our vacation from our vacation. We sat around our room, ate really great food, went shopping and rode bikes for three days around the most incredible scenery in the world (in my opinion.)
We stayed in a great hostel and Johnny, the owner, hooked us up with stuff to do. One night we got tickets to a huge outdoor performance. Its the largest natural landscape theatre in the world and closes off a large section of the river (about 2k) each night for the performance. The show was truly amazing, but exemplified the elaborate scale in which much Chinese art is done. I like to call it the "because we can" style. Its staggeringly enormous, its astonishingly spectacular, it takes your breathe away and it means absolutely nothing. There's nary a story or meaning to be pulled from it. 600 cast members participate and the show requires amazing technicals took five years to complete. Basically what happens is they bring something out to amaze you, like 250 woman dressed in costume with hundreds of little lights on them. Then once the shock wears off they do everything they can with the gimmick. They flash the lights on and off, they flash in sequences ect... So its just a collection of awe inspiring visuals. Hundreds of fishermen floating around with lights on their boats and then pulling big sheets of red silk from the water as if they appeared out of no where! A lady sitting on a giant glowing moon and then running back and forth on it! Whole mountains appearing and disappearing before our eyes! I have no idea whats going on! I joke, but it was really worth seeing.
We rented mountain bikes and aside from me almost breaking my knee, twice, it was great. The first day we got lost in the rice fields for a few hours.
Well, two weeks until I come home and next week is my birthday! Think of us and write to us!